Saturday, 13 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded of the great love and kindness which the Lord has shown each and every one of us, which He has shown and given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. Through Christ, the Lord has revealed to us His overflowing and ever present love, His enduring persistence in reaching out to us and in wanting to be reconciled with us.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Wisdom, we heard the Lord speaking to us His people, reminding us of the great and wonderful deeds He had done, in saving all of them from troubles and in caring for them, as how God had brought out the people of Israel from their enslavement in Egypt, how He rescued them and brought them to freedom, guiding them throughout their journey and Exodus towards the land promised to them.

Essentially, we heard of God’s love and kindness which He had shown, and which He had promised and fulfilled to His beloved ones. Then, we heard from our Gospel passage today, an interesting parable that the Lord Jesus used to explain about God and His love to the disciples and the other people listening to Him, that is the parable of the widow and the evil judge, as a comparison between that judge’s actions and God’s actions.

In that parable, as we heard from our Gospel passage today, we heard how the widow kept on asking and even pestering the evil judge, who was told to fear no one and had no regard for anyone, so that the judge would stand by her case against those who had accused her, namely her adversary. She kept on seeking the evil judge, who eventually gave in to her demands and addressed her needs just so that he could be rid of her incessant and continuous demands on him.

In comparing God to the actions of the evil judge, the Lord Jesus wants us all to know that if wicked and evil people can even answer to a request or demand, even though they had no regard or fear of anything, then how much more that God will be ready to seek us out and to love and care for us? The Lord will bless and love us far more than we can ever imagine, if we only commit ourselves to Him and seek Him with all of our strength and with all of our dedication and genuine love.

Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten about God and often ignored Him as He came to seek us. We put more of our attentions on worldly matters and on our desires, on things that we crave and seek, and God quickly became an afterthought, if not forgotten altogether. Many of us have become merely Sunday Catholics, or even nominal Catholics, when our participation in our faith is limited to just attending Sunday Masses, without real faith in God, and many still have already stopped coming to the Mass and living their faith at all.

Today, each and every one of us are called to reflect on our lives and how we can live a more wholesome and faithful Christian living from now on, especially if we have not yet done so. The Lord has called on us to remember the great love and grace with which He has cared for us, loved us and provided for us. It is indeed true that our sins and evils had separated and sundered us away from Him, but we should know that God wants us all to be reunited with Him, to find our way back to Him, so that we may be saved and share the eternal glory and joy with Him.

Are we willing to embrace the Lord, His love, mercy and forgiveness? Are we confident and capable of making the commitment necessary to follow the Lord wholeheartedly? Let us all allow the Lord to lead and guide us in our lives so that we may walk ever more faithfully in His path. May God be with us all and may He empower each and every one of us to be ever more committed and faithful to Him. Amen.

Saturday, 13 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told them a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my adversary!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Saturday, 13 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 36-37, 42-43

Sing to YHVH, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice.

Then He smote all the firstborn, the first fruits of their manhood. He led Israel out of the alien land, laden with silver and gold, and none were left behind.

For He remembered His promise to Abraham, His servant. So He led forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with singing.

Saturday, 13 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Wisdom 18 : 14-16 and Wisdom 19 : 6-9

While all was in quiet silence and the night was in the middle of its course, Your Almighty Word leapt down from the royal throne – a stern Warrior to a doomed world. Carrying Your fearful command like a sharpened sword and stretching from heaven to earth, He filled the universe with death.

All creation in its different forms was fashioned anew at Your command, in order to protect Your people. The cloud covered the camp with its shadow, dry land emerged where water had been. A safe passage was opened through the Red Sea, the tempestuous flood became a green plain where the whole nation of those protected by Your hand passed across, witnessing Your astounding deeds.

They were like horses led to pasture, or like frolicking lambs, praising You, their Lord, Who had delivered them.

Friday, 12 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the reality of ourselves who are the servants of God, those who are under the power and authority of God, Our Lord and Master, Whose power and glory far surpasses anything else in this Universe, and Who is the One that created the entire Universe and existence as we know it. We have been called to follow Him and to believe in Him, and not to be distracted by all other things in this world.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Wisdom, we heard the author of the Book of Wisdom speaking about the folly of mankind in following and worshipping created things of this world, which were merely created things and objects. These words were directed against all those who worshipped idols and the pagans, who refused to believe in God and those who were still ignorant of His truth. At that time, most of the people except for the people of God believed in myriads of deities based on elements and things of the world.

They were amazed by the wonders and beauty, by the power and greatness of those objects and things, and as a result, they chose to worship what they thought to be their master, deity and creator, but failing to realise that no matter how great those things might have been, they were ultimately in the end, created things and were not the Creator. This is what the Lord wanted His people, all of us to know that He is the one true Lord and Master of all.

Then, we heard the passage from our Gospel today in which we listened to the Lord speaking to His disciples and the people regarding the past occasions when the people of God faced judgment and destruction because of their lack of faith, and then, He also spoke of the Judgment that is to come, which will happen at the end of time. This is one of the occasions in which the Lord mentioned what is to happen in the future, of the coming of the Lord and His salvation.

As He referred to the history of Noah and Lot, the Lord wanted all of us to know that all of us who have held true to our faith in Him and entrust ourselves in Him will not be forgotten, abandoned and will not be disappointed, for even though we may face persecution and difficulties for having believed in God, but the Lord will remember our faith and dedication, and our rewards shall be rich in Heaven and in the world that is to come. On the contrary, those who refused to believe in Him, and those who preferred to follow their own path, shall not have part in Him and His inheritance.

He reminded us all of what happened at the time of Noah, when the Great Flood or the Great Deluge happen all over the whole world, wiping out all the wicked children of mankind, all except that of Noah and his immediate family, who remained faithful to God. Then, on the matter of Lot, the unfaithfulness and wickedness of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who indulged in their vices and in their idolatrous behaviours also led to their destruction, together with the whole cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, while Lot and his family were saved.

All these serve as reminders for us not to be easily swayed and distracted by worldly temptations and idols, which can mislead us and cause us to fall into the path of sin. We may be wondering if we can fall into the sin of idolatry if we do not worship the pagan idols unlike those people in the past era during the time of the Book of Wisdom and the Old Testament, but in fact, in our lives, whenever we treat something in our lives to be greater than God, more treasured for us than God, then we have already made idols out of them.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us have made idols out of money, our wealth and possessions, our addictions and even our desire for glory and fame. All these things are the ones that we often craved after, and worked so hard to gain that we have ignored and forgotten about God. Is it not the same then as those who have preferred to worship the idols than to worship God? Let us not be believers only in name and formality, and yet in our hearts and minds, God is not present at all.

Today, all of us ought to look upon the great examples set by our holy predecessor, namely St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, one of the great saints of God whose feast we are celebrating this day. He is a courageous and holy servant of God, a bishop committed to the well-being of his flock and for the salvation of souls. He was remembered for his great piety and dedication to God, his commitment to Church unity, and finally his martyrdom in defending that unity against those who refused to believe in him and the Lord’s truth.

At that time, the Church in what is today Belarus and Ukraine had been divided between those who were united to the Pope in Rome and those who refused to acknowledge the Pope and his authority, in the Eastern Orthodox communion. St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was one of the bishops and leaders of the Church there who supported and worked hard for the reunification of the churches and the faithful, which eventually led to the Union of Lublin, in which many of those who belonged to the Eastern Orthodox churches, returned to communion with the Pope while retaining their unique traditions and expression of faith.

But there were also many who were opposed to such a union, and this led to further divisions among the flock of God’s people, which St. Josaphat Kuntsevych worked hard to overcome. He laboured to bridge the divisions and heal the disunity in the faithful community of God’s people. He was martyred as his enemies and opponents roused up a rabble to strike at him and killed him, as he remained firmly faithful to the very end in defending the true faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be inspired by the faith and dedication of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych and his commitment to the Lord, Who is first and foremost in all things. Let us all strive to love the Lord all the more and commit ourselves to Him, while distancing ourselves from all those distractions and temptations that can lead us astray. May God be with us and may He strengthen us in our journey of faith through life. Amen.

Friday, 12 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 17 : 26-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. In those days people ate and drank and got married; but on the day Noah entered the Ark, the flood came and destroyed them all.”

“So it was in the days of Lot : people ate and drank, and bought and sold, and planted and built; but on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven, which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“On that day, if you are on the rooftop, do not go down into the house to get your belongings; and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to save his life will lose himself, but whoever gives his life will be born again.”

“I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it might happen that one will be taken, and the other left; though two women are grinding corn together, one might be taken and the other left.” Then they asked Jesus, “Where will this take place, Lord?” And He answered, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.”

Friday, 12 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Friday, 12 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Wisdom 13 : 1-9

The natural helplessness of humans is seen in their ignorance of God. The experience of good things did not lead them to the knowledge of Him Who is. They were interested in His works, but they did not recognise the Author of them.

Fire, wind, air, the sphere of the stars, rushing water and the lights in the sky were held as the rulers of the world. If, charmed by such beauty, they took them for gods, let them know how far superior is their sovereign. And if they were impressed by their power and activity, let them understand from this how much mightier is He Who formed them. For the grandeur and beauty of creatures lead us to ponder on their Author, greater and more magnificent.

No doubt these people are not to be blamed severely, for possibly they strayed though they searched for God and desired to find Him. They pondered over the created things that surrounded them and were captivated by the sight of such beauty. Even so they are not to be excused, for if they were able to explore the world, why did they not discover first the world’s Sovereign?

Thursday, 11 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we all heard about the coming of the Wisdom and the Kingdom of God into our midst, as we heard from the Book of Wisdom about the Wisdom of God and how God’s Wisdom is present in our midst, and then the Gospel passage from the Gospel of St. Luke in which the Lord spoke to the Pharisees regarding the coming of the kingdom of God and about how He was to suffer rejection and death.

In our first reading today, as we listened from the author of the Book of Wisdom, we heard the beautiful exposition and explanation of what God’s Wisdom is all about, and how God’s Wisdom is and has been present all around us, sent by God into our midst, to dwell in us and to stay within us. To us, it has been revealed that the Wisdom of God has passed down to us through the Holy Spirit, which is present in all life and creation, but we have received the fullness of His gifts through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

The Wisdom of God has entered into our hearts, but as mentioned in the Book of Wisdom passage, that God’s Wisdom dwells only in the hearts of those who are holy and just, which means that those who allow God to lead their lives and entrust themselves to Him, listening attentively to His words and truth, then the Wisdom of God will make itself evident through us and our actions, and with the Wisdom of God guiding us in our path, we will be able to walk more faithfully in the way of the Lord.

Through God’s Wisdom, our actions, words and deeds can be sanctified and made to be in accordance with the will of God. And if we prefer to follow our own path or consider things using our own intellect, power and understanding, then very quickly we may end up in the wrong path, as we are likely going to do things that are contrary to the way of the Lord, such as that done by many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law at the time of the Lord’s work and ministry.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the encounter between the Lord and some of those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who often doubted the Lord and questioned Him and the validity and authority of His works. In that particular occasion, the Lord was questioned regarding the coming of the kingdom of God as they wanted to see signs and wonders associated with the coming of God’s kingdom. Although He could perfectly do something, but the Lord refused to indulge their lack of faith and stubbornness. They had seen many miracles and wonders, and yet still refused to believe.

The Lord then also reiterated that the kingdom of God is not so much as a place or something to be revealed by signs and wonders, as that of the interior disposition of the people themselves. The Lord stated before those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law that the kingdom of God was already present in their midst there and then, and yet, they still failed to recognise it. And why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because of their stubbornness in refusing to listen to God, in closing their hearts and minds against God and His truth.

If only that they have the humility and the willingness to look beyond and overcome their ego, pride, greed and ambition, they could have realised the truth that they have been looking for. The Wisdom of God eluded them because they trusted much more in their own human wisdom, power and intellect, preferring to believe in their own ideas and thoughts, than to believe in the truth of God, no matter how unbelievable that may seem to them.

That is why, as we listened to these words of the Scriptures, today we are also called to reflect on our own lives. Have we spent our lives thus far resisting to believe in God and in His Wisdom? Have we closed ourselves off from the truth of God and from the providence of His Wisdom? Our pride and arrogance often became obstacles and barriers in our path towards God. These things often prevent us from reaching out to Him and finding our way to Him. Unless we resist the temptations to indulge in them, then we will likely fall into sin.

Today, that is why we should be inspired by the good examples set by St. Martin of Tours, a renowned bishop in Tours in what is today southern part of France, who was formerly an army centurion in the Imperial Roman Army. St. Martin served in the Roman army and was noted for his great character, his care for his subordinates and his charity for the poor and great faith. He was an exemplary character even from the days before he became the Bishop of Tours.

In a well-known story, when he was still an army centurion, St. Martin of Tours was travelling on a cold day when he saw a beggar by the roadside suffering from the severe cold condition, and without much hesitation, he cut his own officer’s cloak in half and gave that half to the beggar to protect him from the cold. And then, later that very night, in a vision, St. Martin saw the poor beggar who revealed himself to be the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He praised what St. Martin had done, which reminds us of the Lord’s own words that whatever we do for the poor and for the least among us, we do it for the Lord.

St. Martin of Tours later was unanimously elected by the people as the new Bishop of Tours and he was chosen because of his great faith and the respect that all the faithful from all backgrounds had for him. The people entrusted him with the leadership over the diocese, as a selection provided by the Wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit. He would go on to become a great bishop and shepherd his people in Tours. He also dedicated himself to resist and oppose the heretical teachings and other threats to the faithful and the Church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on the examples and the life set before us by St. Martin of Tours, the most faithful servant of God. Let us all be inspired by his generosity, faith, love and courage to live his faith in accordance to the truth of God, and allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Wisdom of God, through the Holy Spirit that God has bestowed on us. May God bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 11 November 2021 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”